GDP Puzzle Solved

New sector expands at breakneck speed

On February 28, the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) came out with Advance Estimates of GDP for October-December 2017. However, the CSO’s startling claim that GDP grew by 7 per cent during the very quarter in which the Reserve Bank withdrew 86 per cent of the cash in circulation, i.e., that demonetisation had simply no effect at all on national income, has evoked widespread disbelief.

There had been widespread reports of closure of small scale industries throughout the country, from Aligarh to Ludhiana to Bhiwandi; how then did manufacturing Gross Value Added actually rise 8.3 per cent in the third quarter? The fact that “private final consumption expenditure” actually rose handsomely, indeed even grew as a percentage of GDP, during a period in which no one had cash to spend, has occasioned some rather harsh criticism of the official statistical machinery.

We raised some of these questions with a senior official in the CSO. In response, he pointed out that many economists had failed to take note of a significant new sector, namely, manufacture of statistics. According to latest data from the CSO, statistics manufacture surged 243 per cent in the third quarter and 274 per cent in the fourth quarter, averaging an extraordinary 202 per cent for the full year.

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(Tribunal was in session at Beirut, 19th and 20th May 2016)

Prosecutor General of the International Tribunal of Conscience For the Middle East               …………………Complainant


  – Versus –

  1. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant / ISIS/Daesh, the AL Qaeda of the region, its offshoots and related organizations, their leaders and mercenary fighters in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
  1. Al Nusra Front, its offshoots and related organizations, the Al Qaeda of the region, their leaders and mercenary fighters in Syria and Lebanon.
  1. Salman bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia
  1. Mohammed bin Nayef, Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other civil and military officials involved in the Conspiracy.    ………………Accused


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The International Criminal Tribunal of Conscience for the Middle East was convened by the Department of Legal Studies of the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation at Beirut, a specialised scientific institution established in 1998 for research, analysis and information on development, strategic and policy issues in the fields related to the Arab-Zionist conflict, US policies, globalisation, relations between the Islamic world and the West, and the global movement against war, occupation and economic hegemony. 

The  Bar Associations of Syria and Iraq and lawyers, jurists  and professors of law from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were actively involved in participating and assisting the Tribunal in the two trials held on 19th and 20th of May 2016. 

The first trial related to the aggression, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the head of state and defence minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Yemen; and the second trial focused on the aggression genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity on Iraq, Syria and Lebanon waged by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among other governments, planning, preparing, initiating and waging a war of aggression in the region by  recruiting , financing, arming and deploying ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, Jabhat al Nusra) among other such  mercenary terrorist combatants along with covert special forces in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Although these judgments were handed down in spring of 2016, subsequent events have made them more relevant than ever.

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Amnesty Report on Syria: A Piece of Propaganda, Not Documentation

— Jacob Levich

In a highly publicized report released February 8, 2017, Amnesty International purports to have found evidence that between 5,000 and 13,000 extrajudicial “mass hangings” took place in Syria ‘s Saydnaya Prison from 2011 to 2015. However, close scrutiny of the report reveals that these numbers were plucked out of thin air. Continue Reading »

Sulabha Brahme, 1932-2016

We are grieved to learn of the death of Sulabha Brahme, economist and social activist.


Sulabha Brahme (1932-2016)

The following press note by her friends and associates provides some details of her life. One point deserves particular stress, from our perspective. As the press note mentions, she authored 50 booklets on various economic and social issues. These were excellent for several reasons. First, she took uncompromising stands against the establishment, and stood with the people. Secondly, she insisted on writing and publishing in Marathi, thus meeting a crying need for such literature in the language. Thirdly, she thoroughly researched the topics and prepared material of high quality, equipping activists and lay persons amply with the information they needed. Finally, she addressed burning questions of the day without delay. Continue Reading »

The generation of black incomes is a continuous process. Black incomes re-enter the ‘white’ economy in a laundered form. A businessman’s aim in life is not to live in a house with gunny bags of notes, but to keep multiplying his money, for which he needs to buy ‘white’ assets. For example, builders take part of their payments in cash, but they don’t keep storing cash in underground pits; rather, they redeploy the cash in real assets on a continuous basis. At any given time, therefore, of the accumulated wealth generated through these processes, only a portion is in the form of notes, which is the amount needed for circulation. (Imagine a game of musical chairs, with notes as the person left standing.)

While demonetization may inconvenience traders to the extent to which they happen to have it in note form at the time, it is an interruption, not an eradication. Necessarily, the State has to reintroduce legal tender to replace the demonetized notes, whereupon the process can start again, as long as the activities themselves are not eliminated; and the State cannot keep on repeating demonetization, as it would destroy faith in the currency. Continue Reading »

Agrarian Crisis Pt. VIII

Effect of 25 Years of Neoliberal Policy: Tightening Grip of Parasitic Forces

The immediate causes of the present agrarian crisis can be located in the neo-liberal policies of the last 25 years. Among these are: the reduction of public sector investment related to agriculture, the reduction of bank credit to agriculture, the near-winding up of public sector extension services, the reduction of Government expenditure in the rural areas, the opening up of agriculture to imports, the reduction of public sector procurement and price stabilisation measures, the increase in administered prices of inputs, and the large-scale forcible acquisition of peasant lands for various projects. In this sense, it is not wrong to see the present agrarian crisis as one wrought by neo-liberalism. These neo-liberal policies in turn can be traced to the predatory interests of foreign investors and the Indian corporate sector (which itself has innumerable ties to global capital).

At the same time, all of these policy measures operate in the context of the existing structure of agrarian relations in India. We need to view various policies in this context in order to understand their impact. Continue Reading »